MICHAEL THE GREAT!
So blessed! This evening, I go to attend a welcome-to-new-families reception at what will be Michael's new school as of 8th grade this Fall. That's right! Michael, after just over a year of being in the U.S., was just accepted into one of Napa Valley's finest schools. Sniffle. He's had such a tough year--new family, new country, new language--and yet despite being woefully behind academically, he got to be a straight-A student in public school and now has been accepted into a much more rigorous academic setting.
It'll continue to be tough on him -- notwithstanding his A-average, he'll need extensive tutoring to catch up to his peers in his new, more academically-challenging school. But he worked hard for this opportunity and it's a blessing and an honor to be able to provide him this opportunity. I mean, when I think back to just his first summer here with us -- when he had to undergo daily math tutorials for three months from Moi who wasn't exactly in her element -- I'm just amazed he didn't do what most kids would have done in his shoes: fling up his hands, declare a strike from books, and demand to go skateboarding!
Here he is just a couple of months into being part of our family, with Mickey Mouse and a Disney hat and of course the dogs he nicknamed at the beginning "Puppy Monsters" because they are so big:
An institutional upbringing typically causes the kids to lag in development, and we'd been counseled it'd take at least a couple of years for Michael to catch up with his "peers" (he wasn't a real 13-year-old when we adopted him, which is why he could still have an affinity with a stuffed animal like Mickey). Well, it took less time than 2 years for him to catch up and even surpass his peers in terms of school. And am so delighted that he's also managed to grow psychologically as well physically--here he is recently with equally-proud Dad:
Can you compare the two shots and see just how much he's filled out and grown in the past year? If you click on the photos and compare his faces, you'll see how noticeably younger he was in the first photo. I remember that sweatshirt he's wearing--I got it for him in Bogota and, at the time, his sleeves were nearly a foot beyond the tip of his fingers. Now, it fits!
It's such a delight to see a human being blossom. Such. A. Blessing!